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AN INFORMAL LETTER 1. Jane, a friend of yours, wrote you this email. She’s obviously feeling under the weather these days. Read the letter:

Hi, how are things with you? I’m feeling pretty miserable, actually. I hope you don’t mind me writing to you just to get things off my chest. I’ve got a terrible cold which really isn’t helping me study, and makes me feel really tired. But still no matter how tired I am, I just can’t sleep! As you know, I’ve got my final exams looming at the end of next month and I’m getting massively stressed out over them. I’m studying twelve or more hours a day without stopping, no time to do any sport, not even enough time to go shopping! I’m living on junk food and coffee – not healthy I know, but what can I do? I really have to pass these exams. And I’m getting really touchy too. I had a really bad argument with Tom yesterday. He was telling me I should take it easy, get out a bit, unwind, that it’d do me good. I know he means well, but he isn’t studying, he just doesn’t understand. Anyway, I really snapped at him and he just walked out. I haven’t seen him since. It feels like this’ll never end sometimes – tell me there’s a life waiting for me after all this!! I honestly can’t take much more. Anyway, back to work – again! See you soon, once all this is over. All the best, Jane

2. Which of the following prompts would you include in a reply to Jane’s mail? Choose the best five or six. Be nice and comforting without sounding too pushy. Add anything else that you like. a. She must try to eat properly; it’ll give her more energy b. Doing sport really helps boost energy levels and clear the mind c. Seeing people, even if it’s just for half an hour over a coffee, is really important to stop her from getting depressed and touchy. d. Studying in short bursts and taking short breaks is far more efficient than slogging away for hours on end. e. She could try watching TV for half an hour before going to bed. f. She should listen to her boyfriend. g. A glass of hot milk is really good to help you sleep h. She’s a good student and has never failed an exam in her life, why should she fail now?


Mª Jesús García San Martín. Adapted from Inside Out, Level V. Workbook


You were in the same position last year so you understand exactly how she feels.


Offer to cook for her for a week

k. Promise her a wonderful weekend away after the exams have finished l.

Ask her to phone you sometime, it can really help to talk things through.

3. Now write your reply email to Jane. It should be a long mail between 200 and 250 words.


Mª Jesús García San Martín. Adapted from Inside Out, Level V. Workbook

Writing an informal letter  

Advanced esl writing assignment.